Summary: 31 October 2007, Brussels - This year's Global Jean Monnet Conference is to be held in Brussels on 5-6 November. It will address "The European Union and Sustainable Development". Organised under the auspices of the Education and Culture Directorate General, it will bring together 450 top academics, policy makers and representatives of civil society from around the world, in the presence of Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
The EU encourages the study of European integration around the world through the Jean Monnet Programme. The Programme supports around 2000 Jean Monnet professors specialised in European integration, at universities in 60 countries on the five continents. It is also used to back informed debate on topics of current political importance among academics, policy-makers and civil society.
Ján Figel', the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, explained the significance of the event: "The European Union has a particularly prominent role to play in promoting the concept of sustainable development through its policies, be it in environment, energy, internal market, research, development or foreign relations. We need to learn from the lessons of the past, and from the scientific insights of the present, to build a better future for the generations to come, wherever they are on the planet. This is our duty, and I commend the work of the Global Jean Monnet Conference in sharpening our thinking on sustainable development."
The Conference will address one of the major challenges to the EU: how best to actively promote sustainable development. Sustainable development implies a high level of environmental protection, social equity and cohesion, and economic prosperity. It has to be achieved in the face of demands to improve people's lives and to conserve our natural resources in a world whose population is growing, with increasing demand for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security. The conference will start from common European values - solidarity and cohesion; respect for fundamental rights; equal opportunities and non-discrimination; universal access to education and healthcare; and multi-lateral dialogue and peace - and consider how the EU can build from them towards worldwide sustainable development.
The nature of the Jean Monnet network enables it to draw on a particularly wide range of top authority in selecting speakers and participants. Those present will include leading policy makers, academics and representatives of civil society from 5 continents. They will address this issue from many different angles and help identify ways forward. Topics discussed will include global environmental governance, climate change, sustainable energy, demography, poverty and development.
This Global Jean Monnet Conference takes place shortly before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change adopts and approves its draft Synthesis Report (due in Valencia, Spain, 12-17 November 2007). It will therefore be able to make a timely contribution to shaping the international response to this challenge.
The results of the conference will be formally transmitted to the EU institutions and published in book form.